Procedure to use Hyperbaric Chamber at Haulbowline (May 2008)

  1. On receiving a call for this type of patient, the Coast Guard will contact Medico Cork (who are the co-ordinators for the country) and inform them of a possible incident. On picking up a patient the Coast Guard will again contact Medico and inform them of the patient’s condition.
  2. If, in the opinion of Medico, the patient may require to go to the Hyperbaric Chamber, Medico Cork will inform Ambulance Control Cork by dialling zero on an internal phone, then 112 or 999 and asking for the ambulance service.
  3. Ambulance Control will implement the ambulance SOP that includes informing the Naval Base that the Hyperbaric Chamber is required. The more notice that can be given to activate the chamber the better but the minimum notice is one hour.
  4. The Coast Guard will contact Ambulance Control giving a landing site and an E.T.A. At present the preferred site is Cork Airport.
  5. An ambulance will meet the helicopter and transport the patient to the Emergency Department at Cork University Hospital.
  6. If assessment confirms that the patient needs recompression, an ambulance will transfer the patient with a nurse or doctor to the Naval Base.
  7. The consultant involved should telephone the Navy diving officer on 087 2355263 to relay clinical information and appropriate table to be used for recompression.


The decision to transfer to Cork University Hospital will depend on whether the patient is fit for transfer. For example those patients with low conscious levels or breathing difficulties may first need to be transferred to the nearest emergency department. This decision will be made by Medico Cork. The consultant on call may then liaise with the Emergency medicine doctors regarding the patients condition for possible transfer.

In the event that a patient is seen initially in an Emergency Department of another hospital, that hospital will contact Medico Cork through the Coast Guard. Medico may direct the Coast Guard directly to the Naval Base, landing in the football field. Alternatively the consultant may want the patient to be examined at Cork University Hospital. In this case Cork Airport is the preferred landing site.

The Coast Guard will inform Ambulance Control Cork of this landing site and E.T.A. A HSE ambulance will meet the helicopter and transport the patient.


The Naval Base recompression chamber is not equipped to treat patients who have severe respiratory problems requiring tracheal intubation. These patients, if they require recompression treatment, will need to be transferred to a suitable chamber in the UK.

How this transfer is to be affected will be decided by the Irish Coast Guard with medical advice from Medico Cork.

Air Ambulance Protocol for Activation of recompression chamber in the event of a diving accident

Air Ambulance Operations Notice 3/08. Dated: 13th November, 2008. Print Version

Air Ambulance Ops Notice

Chamber Activation

Air Ambulance Operations Notice - Chamber Activation. Click for larger version
  1. In the event of a patient requiring the use of a Recompression Chamber, utilise the following procedure
  2. From diagnosis and specialist advice, decide which level of Recompression Chamber is required. Should further specialist medical advice be required, regarding patients condition or level of chamber required, contact either;
    • Ambulance Control, Cork; 021 4546418, 021 4921126 - who will contact MEDICO Cork, who will then make contact with your Dept. OR
    • Royal Navy Dive Information Centre; 0044 7831151523, 0044 2392768020
  3. Once level of chamber / patient care required is decided, contact your local Ambulance Control, who in turn will organise the appropriate chamber and transport. Please provide patient details. Contact name of Registrar or Emergency Consultant dealing with patient.
  4. Ambulance Control will update the requesting Emergency Dept. regarding, patient transport details and chamber availability.
  5. Requesting Emergency Dept. will be required to provide Medical staff for patient transfer

Air Ambulance Operations Notice 3/08 (Nov, 2008)

Diving Emergencies Contact Numbers and protocol

Dive Chamber Regions and Information:

Initiating Control, please check if Ambulance is required at receiving Dive Chamber location.

Southern Region;

All Hospitals south of: Athlone-Dublin-Galway - Contact Cork Ambulance Control; 021 4546418.

Northern Region;

All Hospitals north of Athlone-Dublin-Galway - Contact Coastguard Control, Dublin; 01 6620922

United Kingdom Chamber;

Plymouth: 0044 1752 209999, Out of Hours; 0044 8702385001

Aero-medical Support Services;

Irish Air Corps; 01 4037502/4037800

Irish Coastguard;

01 662092